New York Law Journal Special Report on Experiential Learning & Charting a Career Path

Wanted to get this Special Report out to you ASAP! I am poring over it now and will report back soon!

 View the Digital Edition of this Special Report.

Experiential Learning: Practice Makes Perfect

Bruce A. Green, the Louis Stein Professor at Fordham Law School, writes: Making students ready for practice is not just a task for the formal curriculum. Law students spend much of their time in law-related pursuits outside the classroom including in extracurricular activities and part-time and summer employment. Law schools strive to help students make the most of these opportunities.

Theory Makes Successful Lawyering Possible

Jeremy Paul, dean of Northeastern University School of Law, writes that the over-emphasis on the divide between theory and practice lurking within today’s calls for law school reform obscures a far more basic reality. Grounding in “theory” is what makes successful lawyering possible in the first place.

Alternative Career Tracks Are Innovative and Necessary

Richard A. Rosenbaum, the chief executive officer of Greenberg Traurig in Manhattan, writes: Law schools, firms and seasoned attorneys must continue to work together to creatively ensure that we keep open the doors of opportunity to emerging legal talent.

Building ‘Collaborative Intelligence’ in a Challenging Legal Market

Alison Nina Bernard, the director of corporate practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and Niki Kopsidas who oversees firm-wide lateral partner hiring and integration at Blank Rome, write: In today’s highly competitive legal market, an attorney needs a high level of Collaborative Intelligence to help clients meet their strategic business goals, and law firms and other legal organizations need to foster a culture where knowledge and expertise are shared openly and effectively.

Recalculating Goals to Move Forward

Jill Backer, associate director for employer relations at Brooklyn Law School, writes: Because plans and people change, as do industries and the employment market, your goals must be able to change as well. If your goals are resilient then you can be too.


Read more:


Agenda Circulated For April 25th Standards Review Committee Meeting

As readers to this blog know from earlier posts, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar completed almost all of its work on comprehensive review at its meeting held on March 14-15, 2014. Importantly, the proposed changes  incorporate identification and assessment of student learning outcomes into the Standards.  In March, the Council also approved a few final matters for Notice and Comment:

  • Interpretation 305-3 (Study Outside the Classroom)
  • Interpretation 503-3 (Admission Test)
  • Standard 505 (Granting of J.D. Degree Credit for Prior Law Study)
  • Chapter 8 (Council Authority, Variances, and Amendments)
  • Definitions
  • Rules of Procedure

Today,  the  Standards Review Committee (which reports “up to the Council”)  posted the  agenda and supporting materials for its next meeting which will be held in St. Louis on April 25th .   The agenda begins with a Hearing on the matters out for Notice and Comment: Interpretation 305-3, Interpretation 503-3, Standard 505, and Chapter 8.   The SRC will review  the posted comments as well as  the draft final report of the proposed comprehensive changes.

The posted material also  includes a helpful summary of Council actions ( Council acts on ABA law school approval standards at March 2014 meeting) and a statement of next steps:

The complete set of revisions is expected to be reviewed by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2014 in accordance with House Rule 45.9. The House may either concur with the Council’s decisions or refer a proposed change back to the Council for further consideration. Any reference back to the Council must include a statement setting forth the reasons for the referral. A decision by the Council is subject to a maximum of two referrals back to the Council by the House. The decision by the Council following the second referral is final.

The end of this comprehensive review is in sight!

“Don’t Skimp on Legal Training” NYT Editorial by Chemerinsky & Menkel-Meadow


Clinical Law Review Workshop – Registration deadline is June 30, 2014

The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 27, 2014, at NYU Law School.


The Workshop will provide an opportunity for clinical teachers who are writing about any subject (clinical pedagogy, substantive law, interdisciplinary analysis, empirical work, etc.) to meet with other clinicians writing on related topics to discuss their works-in-progress and brainstorm ideas for further development of their articles. Attendees will meet in small groups organized, to the extent possible, by the subject matter in which they are writing. Each group will “workshop” the draft of each member of the group.


Participation in the Workshop requires the submission of a paper because the workshop takes the form of small group sessions in which all members of the group comment on each other’s manuscripts. By June 30, all applicants will need to submit a mini-draft or prospectus, 3-5 pages in length, of the article they intend to present at the workshop. Full drafts of the articles will be due by September 1, 2014.


As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but participants will have to arrange and pay for their own travel and lodging. To assist those who wish to participate but who need assistance for travel and lodging, NYU Law School has committed to provide 10 scholarships of up to $750 per person to help pay for travel and lodging. The scholarships are designed for those clinical faculty who receive little or no travel support from their law schools and who otherwise would not be able to attend this conference without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will be asked to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus, by June 30, a proposed budget for travel and lodging and a brief statement of why the scholarship would be helpful in supporting their attendance at this conference. The Board will review all scholarship applications and issue decisions about scholarships in early July.The scholarships are conditioned upon recipients’ meeting all requirements for workshop participation, including timely submission of drafts.


Information about the Workshop – including the Registration form, scholarship application form, and information for reserving hotel rooms – is available on-line at:


If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to send us, we would be very happy to hear from you. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Randy Hertz at


– The Board of Editors of the Clinical Law Review

LegalED Igniting the Law Conference April 4th @ American University Washington College of Law

At our first conference this upcoming Friday we are featuring over 30 law professors from the United States who will be presenting in TEDx styled talks. Here is a link to our impressive speaker list:

Here is some more information about our vision for LegalED and our conference:
Unlike MOOCs, where one professor teaches thousands.  We believe that all professors topics that they know best and that collectively we can bring students more ideas and perspectives, which is important for legal education. In studying the law, it is important for students to be able to see an issue, a problem from various perspectives.

And the unique thing about the conference is that we are creating a body of professional development materials for professors.  In the legal academy and probably in higher ed generally, not a lot of attention is paid to how students learn or to the craft of teaching.  This conference addresses that head on and begins to create a collection of videos, available 24/7 for professors interested in improving their craft.

Also check out our website and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

-Benjamin Pietrzyk
Uncommon Individual Foundation

Council on Legal Education Maintains Tenure and 405, Adds Requirement of Six Experiential Credits and Calls for Notice and Comment on Paid Externships

The ABA Council of the Section on Legal Education met in San Diego on March 14th and 15th  and voted on the final recommendations of the Standards Review Committee’s (SRC’s) comprehensive review of the standards begun in 2008. ( See earlier discussions here and here and here). I report on some but not all of this past weekend’s work.

On the controversial SRC recommendations on faculty tenure, security of position and academic freedom, the Council voted down both alternatives to the current standards, thus retaining the current system of tenure and security of position pursuant to ABA Standard 405. This is a victory for those who support tenure and security of position as the key to ensuring academic freedom, as I do. Council members acknowledged that the current standards are imperfect.  For example, current standards unfairly institutionalize hierarchies within faculty that are inconsistent with innovation and preparing students for the profession, particularly with respect to our Legal Writing and Lawyering colleagues.  This and other issues will be left for the next comprehensive review.

On the competing proposals to require experiential learning for all students, the Council voted to require six credits, rejecting an alternative proposal for 15 credits.  This is a very small step in the right direction but at least it is a step.  The approved ABA standard approved by the Council reads as follows:

“one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours. An experiential course must be a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement. To satisfy this requirement, a course must be primarily experiential in nature and must:

(i) integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in
performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in Standard

(ii) develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;
(iii) provide multiple opportunities for performance; and
(iv) provide opportunities for self-evaluation.”

As to proposals concerning student pro bono hours, the Council adopted 50 hours as an “aspirational” goal,  thus rejecting an hourly requirement such as that imposed by the New York Court of Appeals for admission to the bar in New York.   With respect to inclusion of LGBT law students and law students with disabilities, the Council rejected proposals for affirmative inclusion, relying on general non-discrimination language.

Finally, the Council voted to send out for Notice and Comment a proposal to permit students to receive academic credit for paid externships. The Council is expected to vote on this proposal at its June meeting. As I discussed in an earlier post, this proposed change is fraught with difficulties and real risks. Those interested in this issue should think about information that  needs to be conveyed to the Council and watch the ABA website for posting of the time frame for Notice and Comment. I will be following closely and will announce what I learn on this blog.  The ABA House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on the proposed revised standards at their August meeting.

Educating the Transactional Lawyer of Tomorrow

Educating the Transactional Lawyer of Tomorrow
Emory University School of Law –  June 6-7, 2014
Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce its fourth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills.  The conference, entitled “Educating the Transactional Lawyer of Tomorrow,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 6th and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 7th.
We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5 p.m. on Monday, March 17, 2014.  We welcome proposals on any subject of interest to current or potential teachers of transactional law and skills, focusing particularly on our overarching theme:  “Educating the Transactional Lawyer of Tomorrow.”
Please submit the attached proposal form electronically via the Emory Law website at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Beginning March 1, 2014, you can also register for the Conference at our Emory Law website at
If you encounter any technical difficulties in submitting your proposal or in registering online, please contact Edna Patterson, Conference Coordinator, at or 404.727.6506.
We look forward to seeing you in June!

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